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Yesterday at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health and the Aspen Institute honored Senegal, along with the Philippines and Uruguay, as winners of the 2015 Resolve Award, which recognizes countries that are making landmark progress toward the goal of universal access to reproductive health services.
“Family planning saves lives and empowers women, serving as a gateway to a host of other sustainable development goals,” said Pamela Hamamoto, the United States Mission Ambassador to the United Nations, who hosted the Resolve Award ceremony.
Senegal was recognized for dramatic improvements in service delivery. Use of modern contraception in the country increased from 12% in 2010 to 20% in 2014, and the country’s goal is to reach 27% by 2020.
“The success in Senegal has been dramatic due in large part to the Informed Push Model,” said Dr. Marleen Temmerman, director of the World Health Organization’s reproductive health and research department, in presenting the country’s award. “The model has reduced stockout frequencies from 80% to less than 10%.”
The Informed Push Model—an innovative method of contraceptive distribution developed by IntraHealth International—has revolutionized the country’s contraceptive supply chain, nearly eliminating stockouts and ensuring that facilities are supplied and ready to provide clients with their preferred methods. The inconsistent availability of contraceptives has plagued Senegal in the past, hindering the country’s progress in providing family planning services to its people and reaching its maternal health goals.
The Informed Push Model is helping to change that, and is already serving as a model for other countries in the region, according to the Aspen Institute.
“Family planning is the key to economic growth,” said US Agency for International Development assistant administrator Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, who leads the agency’s Global Health Bureau. “It empowers women, communities, and nations, and is an essential factor in ending preventable maternal and child deaths.”
How the Informed Push Model Works
Through the Informed Push Model, trained logistics operators deliver supplies to points of sale on a regular schedule, restocking where necessary and recording quantities of products sold. The logistics operators collect data that are then used to ensure that each site and warehouse is sufficiently stocked, and allows manufacturers to keep pace with demand. This takes the burden of tracking and ordering inventory off of pharmacies and clinics.
Proceeds from clients’ contraceptive purchases are then reinvested back into the public contraceptive supply system to ensure the constant flow and availability of products. The model makes a wide range of family planning commodities available, allowing women to more freely choose the methods they want at affordable prices.
When the Informed Push Model was introduced into health centers in the Pikine and Kaolack regions, the average monthly contraceptive stockout rates fell from 83% for implants and 43% for Depo Provera in 2010-2011 to 0% for both methods in 2012.
Senegal’s Ministry of Health and IntraHealth have worked together to expand the Informed Push Model nationally.
“Population issues are at the heart of Senegal’s development plan,” said Fode Seck, permanent representative of Senegal to the United Nations, in accepting the award on Senegal’s behalf. “A key to success for the government is working in close collaboration with communities and other local stakeholders as well as international partners.”
In 2013 alone, contraception prevented 77 million unintended pregnancies, 24 million unsafe abortions, and 125,000 women's deaths. As global use of modern contraceptives rose from 55% in 1990 to 63% in 2010, global maternal mortality fell by 45%.
By making family planning services more widely available in Senegal and serving as a model for other countries, Senegal’s Ministry of Health can help West Africa—a region where maternal death rates are among the world’s highest and contraceptive use among the lowest—make greater, faster progress in reproductive health.
IntraHealth International’s work with the Informed Push Model in Senegal is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Merck for Mothers.